Is ‘Pasoori’ uniting India, Pakistan? Fans don’t think so

The 14th installment of Coke Studio has been praised globally for its fresh take on the celebrated show. As EP’s former frontman, Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan (Xulfi) held the reigns this year, there was one song that truly surpassed all expectations. Ali Sethi and Shae Gill’s Pasoori transcended borders and managed to win the hearts of fans world over.

While there has been nothing but praises for the track, a recent article in The New Yorker has ruffled some feathers. Written by an Indian journalist, Priyanka Mattoo, the said news piece shed light on how the Coke Studio banger is ‘uniting India and Pakistan.’ For the troubling political ties the neighbouring countries have been experiencing for the last few years, the claim was bold.

The article further comments on how Sethi seemingly came up with the idea of Pasoori during one of his tours in India. The write-up heavily centres around the reaction Pasoori has garnered in our neighbouring country. And the very same idea hasn’t gone well with Pakistanis.

“The idea for the song began when Sethi, who lives in New York, was invited to collaborate on a project in Mumbai, which he had visited many times before for literary festivals and music gigs,” The New Yorker feature read. “People are streaming ‘Pasoori’ in villages, in cities, in regions where people don’t even speak the language but furiously feel the vibe.”

In defence of Pakistani music

In another instance, Mattoo talks about the aesthetic of the song all the while comparing Laal Kabootar famed director Kamal Khan’s vision being that of quintessential Bollywood. “The video, shot in old-Bollywood, Technicolor style and directed by Kamal Khan, introduces Sethi and Gill, dressed in boho interpretations of traditional outfits—he in a striped kurta pajama in jewel tones and a matching cap, she in a flowing white dress and embroidered vest—as they sing in the courtyard of an ancestral home,” it further read.

Taking to Twitter, many expressed disappointment with how an article about a Pakistani song was written by an Indian and how the author was relentless about giving India undue credit for the hit number.

“Find some Pakistani writers first. It’s not Indian in any sense. And the music on this side of the border is a million times better than the Bollywood bullcrap,” a user penned.

One more added, “No, you clown. It’s a Pakistani song with Pakistani singers. India has nothing to do with it. The New Yorker is this the kind of biased and shoddy journalism you support?”

A tweep shared, “A peculiar observation but Pakistanis have been consuming Indian media for decades without writing anything of this sort. Why is it that every time something Pakistani gains international prominence, Indians somehow drag in India, partition, and the ‘subcontinent’?”

In defence of Shae Gill

Some shared how the article didn’t mention Gill prominently – even though the rising star has been the talk of the town since the song had gone viral. “Imagine ruining the whole article surrounding Bollywood and not mentioning Shae Gill, Why’d you ask an Indian to write about a Pakistani song, Pasoori is a Pakistani breed, Coke Studio is unmatchable, grow your standards.”

Another added, “It’s disappointing when female writers from the subcontinent diminish women too. Shae Gill barely finds mention, this reads and is Ali Sethi’s profile. Apart from the top class name dropping on here, this is Shae Gill’s song. She is reduced to an ancillary act here.”

One more tweep added, “Ali Sethi and *Shae Gill’s. Please commission Pakistani writers to write about Pakistani culture and media.” Another commented, “Ali Sethi and Shae Gill. You missed the breakout star of this song.”

Another shared, “I enjoyed this article, but I wish you also included or reached out to Shae Gill. Also, it makes me a bit uncomfortable how you mentioned what she’s studying + her being part of a minority faith in Pakistan (which is very private) without even interviewing her.”

The full credit for this masterpiece goes to Pakistani artists involved until we see will come across a so-called rendition by some well-known Indian artist on YouTube someday – sans the credits, of course.

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.